Tension was building off of the courts, as spectators and coaches knew the magnitude of the set taking place at Hart High School on Tuesday afternoon.
Hart’s Cameron Schwartz was down 4-1, but was able to win one more game before eventually losing 6-2.
Schwartz walked off the court to a crowd of enthused teammates, coaches and parents. She didn’t understand why everyone was so happy about her losing the set. She would soon find out that the two games she won gave Hart the overall victory over Windward by one game.
“I had no idea, I was kind of in shock,” Schwartz said. “I was disappointed that I lost, but the fact that I could get that win for us was really exciting. I had no idea what that one game meant to us.”
“I knew Cam was going to do her thing,” said Hart’s Jennifer Russell. “I wasn’t going to focus on the score until we were done. I just knew Cameron was going to do awesome.”
The final score was 9-9, with Hart winning 52 games in doubles and 19 in singles. Windward won 52 games in singles and 18 in doubles, giving the Indians the slight edge in the Division 3 wild-card match.
Russell and teammate Stefani Woll dominated on the doubles side, which has been a consistent theme all season. The duo lost only one game on the afternoon which paid huge dividends in a match that literally came down to a single game.
The No.1 doubles team of Shannon Sindle and Emily Thompson won all three of their sets and the No. 3 doubles team of Lauren Hannah and Marti Kass won two of three.
“Doubles is about communication and knowing your opponent and managing emotions throughout a match and throughout a season,” Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger said. “These girls have really bonded this year. It really shows throughout the season when you have two girls that know each other and can push each other to be greater than the sum of their parts.”
“I’m so proud of them,” Schwartz said about her doubles teammates. “Without them we wouldn’t have been able to get this far. They know what they have to do every time they go out there and they do it.”
Schwartz was the only Hart singles player to win a set, defeating Windward’s No. 3 singles player 6-4.
Hart will travel to Calabasas to face Louisville High School on Wednesday in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs. The match begins at 2 p.m. and will take place at the Calabasas Swim and Tennis Center.
“You play to win, but we’re just going to treat it like another match,” Hardbarger said. “If we won by one game today, maybe we can win by two tomorrow.”